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New Honda Passport Debuts As Honda’s Capable Midsize SUV

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New, 2019 Honda Passport SUV

The Passport is a middle child of Honda’s SUV family.

Honda has introduced an all-new Honda Passport some 16 years after the nameplate exited the North American market. Unveiled at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the mid-size SUV slots between the compact CR-V and full-size Pilot and competes directly with the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The Passport is based on a shorter version of the platform that underpins the Pilot and, as a result, has just two rows of seating instead of the three in big brother. It also rides an inch higher and has superior approach, departure and breakover angles, making it a better off-roader.

Inside, the Passport offers more passenger volume than any other midsize SUV and boasts a spacious rear trunk with an in-floor storage system inspired by the Ridgeline pickup truck.

All Passport models are powered by a 280 horsepower V6 mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but buyers will have the option of a torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system that improves both on- and off-road performance.

Fittingly, the Passport looks like a shrunken Passport, taking most of its styling cues from its three-row counterpart. However, a blacked-out front-end treatment makes it look a little more adventurous. Wheel size is 20-inches for all models.

The interior is also a near carbon copy of the Pilot, featuring the same dash design, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system and available digital gauge cluster. The Honda Sensing suite of safety features comes standards and includes adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist.

Sales of the 2019 Honda Passport begin in early 2019.

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Cadillac

New Cadillac XT6 Debuts As Cadillac’s First Three-Row Crossover

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New Cadillac XT6 Family SUV

The new crossover joins the XT4, XT5 and XT6 in Cadillac’s growing lineup of utility vehicles.

Cadillac used the 2019 Detroit Auto Show to unveil its much-needed Cadillac XT6, it’s first-ever large three-row crossover.

Slotting below the flagship Escalade SUV, the new XT6 is aimed at the Audi Q7, Infiniti QX60, Acura MDX and the new Lincoln Aviator and should offer buyers a more car-like experience than the Escalade, which is technically a V8-powered pickup truck underneath.

Cadillac played it safe with the exterior styling, which aside from the distinct front fascia, is relatively bland, especially when compared to big brother Escalade and the Lincoln Aviator. Even the baby XT4 seems to have more street presence despite having a smaller footprint.

We have no problem with the substance over form approach taken, but some personality could go a long way to appeal to a broader audience. Seriously, where is the swag, Cadillac?

Buyers have the choice of two trim levels: Premium Luxury and Sport. The XT6 Premium Luxury goes for a more sophisticated and understated look with brighter accents and wood trim, while the XT6 Sport gets slightly different front and rear fascias, a black grille and black window moldings, clear rear taillights, carbon fiber trim, and unique exhaust housings.

Regardless of trim, LED projector headlights are standard ware, while a “performance” LED option is available. Wheel sizes range from 20-inches to 21 inches.

The interior mirrors that of the XT5, featuring a clean and premium look that, like the exterior, leans on the safe side. It is a tour de force on the tech front, however, giving buyers the latest in convenience and safety features.

Notable highlights include an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility; near-field pairing for compatible smartphones, allowing owners to connect to the car via Bluetooth by simply touching their phone to an icon on the dash rather than by fumbling through menus on their phone or infotainment system; a 15-watt charge pad for fast wireless charging; and a powerful Bose Performance Series audio system with 14 speakers.

With 29.5 inches of legroom and 37.2 inches of headroom, the XT6 has more third-row head and legroom than the Audi Q7 (29.2/35.9) and Acura MDX (28.1/35.6), and more headroom than the Infiniti QX60 (30.2/36.5). A standard power-folding third row makes it easy to free up space for your cargo.

Powere is provided by a 3.6-liter V6 rated at around 310 horsepower, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and an available twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system. A five-link independent rear suspension, front McPherson struts and adaptive dampers at all four corners should help ensure a compliant ride.

On the safety front, all XT6 models come standard with forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and lane keeping assist. Adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, night vision, and a head-up display are optional.

Interestingly, as with the XT4, Cadillac made no mention of Super Cruise in the XT6’s press release. Let’s hope the company is still on track to offer in all its vehicles by 2020.

Production of the new Cadillac XT6 begins in spring 2019. Is it everything you expected?

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Crossovers

New, 2020 Ford Explorer Debuts As RWD, 365HP Large SUV

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New, 2020 Ford Explorer Limited SUV, blue

It’s the first SUV to ride on the Blue Oval’s new platform.

Ford has unveiled the all-new, 2020 Explorer, the latest iteration of its mainstay three-row family SUV.

Whereas the previous-generation Ford Explorer is built on a front-wheel drive platform that debuted in 2008, the new model moves onto a brand-new rear-wheel-drive platform that also underpins the new Lincoln Aviator. It’s a return to form for Ford’s nearly 30-year-old nameplate.

Power is provided by a 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 300 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque, paired to Ford’s new ten-speed automatic that drives either the rear wheels or, optionally, all four wheels.

That output isn’t too shabby for a base engine, but buyers looking for even more oomph! will have the choice of a 3.0L turbocharged V6 with 365 horsepower and 380 lb-ft. of torque, the most powerful engine ever put in an Explorer. A hybrid powertrain will also be available.

The 3.0-liter EcoBoost equipped Explorer can tow up to 5,600 pounds (2,540 km), while models with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost and Class III Trailer Tow Package can tow up to 5,300 pounds (2,404 km).

Moving to the exterior, designers chose to give the new Ford Explore an evolutionary design that reminiscent of its predecessor, but the rear-wheel drive proportions give it a sportier, more athletic look that should appeal to more buyers.

The interior is both upscale and practical, featuring a new sliding second-row seat that eases entry to the rearmost row. The long list of standard comfort and convenience features includes a 4G LTE WiFi hot spot that can accommodate up to 10 devices, a power-operated rear hatch, and a vertically-mounted infotainment system that juts out of the dashboard like a tablet. Do you like the look?

Cargo capacity comes in at 87.8 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded and 6.1 cubic feet more than the current Explorer.

On the safety front, every Explorer now comes with Co-Pilot360, Ford’s suite of passive and active safety features that consists of a blind-spot monitor with a cross-traffic alert system, lane-keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and a forward collision system with automatic braking and pedestrian detection.

An adaptive cruise control system with lane-centering technology is available, as are an automatic rear braking system and Ford’s latest parking assistant, which is able to parallel or perpendicularly park the Explorer without the driver having to touch the steering wheel or pedals.

The all-new, 2020 Ford Explorer goes on sale in summer 2019 with a starting price of $32,765 in the United States. Are you happy with how it turned out, and could you consider one for your next vehicle?

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Crossovers

Tesla Reduces Model 3, Model S And Model X Price

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Red Tesla Model 3 Turning

Every Tesla model has been discounted by $2,000.

To help offset the drop in federal incentives on its vehicles, Tesla has reduced the price across its entire U.S. lineup.

This means the cheapest Tesla available, the Model 3 Mid Range, now starts at $45,200, while the Model 3 Long Range and Model 3 Performance kick off at $52,200 and $63,200, respectively. The Model 3 will eventually start at just $35,000 once the bare bone version finally goes on sale.

If you rather prefer the larger Model S, it now starts at $77,200 for the 75D version, $95,200 for the Model S 100D, and $134,200 for the high-performance, supercar-beating P100D.

Finally, the Model X starts at $83,200 and tops out at $139,200.

The federal incentive was cut in half from $7,500 to $3,750 for vehicles delivered in 2019 after Tesla built its 200,000th EV. It will be cut in half once again to $1,875 starting on July 1, 2019 before it is eliminated entirely Jan 1, 2020.

In other words, those looking to own a brand new Tesla should act fast before the company’s vehicles are no longer eligible for any federal tax credits.

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